Misconception Number 35: Organic Agriculture is more concerned about nature than people..
Summary of Counter-Arguments:
|- Organic Agriculture cares about both nature and people. It sees the well-being of the soil, plants, animals, humans, and the planet as one and indivisible. It is obvious that the well-being of humans depends on the quality of their environment.|
Details of Counter-Arguments:
Organic Agriculture is concerned about both people and nature. Out of the four Principles of Organic Agriculture (Health, Ecology, Fairness, and Care), at least three of them are intimately linked to the welfare of human beings. Organic Agriculture is a holistic production system that does not separate people from their environment. Organic Agriculture cares and helps sustain the well-being of the soil, plants, animals, humans, and the planet as one and indivisible. It is common sense that the life and welfare of human beings depends heavily on the quality of our environment, the sustained availability of natural resources, and the capacity of ecosystems to continue providing ecological services, such as clean water.
What is true is that Organic Agriculture is more concerned about nature than conventional agriculture. Therefore, Organic Agriculture cares more for future generations than conventional agriculture. The human species is subject to the same general rules as all other living beings: its maintenance and development depends on the availability of natural resources and the relative stability of its general living environment. Although human beings have developed unlike any other living species on earth, they remain vulnerable in many ways. For instance, while bacteria and insects have proven to be capable of quickly adapting to toxicological threats (such as antibiotics or insecticides) due to their small size and very short reproduction cycles, the capacity of human beings to adapt to ever-increasing chemical exposure is much lower. The rate of invention of new pesticides and other chemicals is accelerating, while our generation time is relatively long (a couple of decades) compared to that of bacteria (a few hours) and increasing (on average humans have children at a later age than in the past). Therefore, there is little chance that the human species will ever “adapt” to the pollution in the environment. The consequence of this is the inevitable increase in certain diseases, such as cancer (e.g., cancer incidence increased by 25 percent in the UK between 1975 and 2004; cancer-related deaths increased by 16 percent in France between 1980 and 2000), allergies, asthma, and congenital disorders (which irreparably affect the genetic capital of the human species). Hence, there is no doubt that considering both nature and people is the best way to safeguard people’s welfare now and in the future. Recent environmental crises (e.g., global warming, desertification, and water pollution) have been unquestionable demonstrations that the disruption of natural cycles directly and strongly affects people’s well-being and survival.
In addition to considering how the condition of our environment affects people, Organic Agriculture is concerned about the social well-being of people within their human communities. Organic agriculture builds on relationships that ensure fairness, equity, respect, and justice between the different actors of the food chain. Most Organic Agriculture standards contain specific social standards to ensure that issues such as child labor and worker and human rights are given due attention. Organic farmers and farm workers are not poisoned by pesticides as is the case for three millions of their conventional counterparts every year. Consumers derive a range of health benefits from consuming organic products (as addressed in Misconception number 2). Therefore, when you buy organic food, you not only contribute to protecting nature, you also contribute to a healthier, safer, fairer, and better world for you, your children, and other people.